Charlotte’s Top Five

It’s end/beginning of year – list time! Although list posts are multiplying like rabbits online, I’ll go ahead and post my second annual Top Fives in books, movies, TV, and music. Note that these are not books, movies, TV, and music that debuted in 2015 but my personal Top Fives which means, although I’m not a slave to current pop culture, I am highly interested in good books, good movies, good TV, and good music regardless of when it was created.

In addition, I’m posting my Top Five wanna-sees and wanna-reads for 2016. Wanna-listen is dependent upon mood.

Here we go..

Top Five Books –  In looking back over my Goodreads list of read books, I found exactly five that I gave five stars and one I realized I didn’t list there but definitely deserves five. I rarely give five stars but these highly deserved it, in my eyes.


  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain – A fictional autobiography of Beryl Markham, the first person to fly solo, east to west, across the Atlantic. This was a fascinating read which prompted me to buy Markham’s own book, “West With the Night”, which I plan to read this year.
  • Housfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum – An expat housewife stuck in Zurich with a Swiss husband and two sniveling children. What’s a miserable girl to do? An engrossing answer awaits you.
  • The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavich – My thoughts here.
  • The Door by Magda Szabo – Originally published in Hungary in 1987, this book is spell-binding. I’ve never read a book quite like it. The slow but steady development of character and story is like drinking fine wine. This was one of my selections for Women in Translation Month. Highly recommend.
  • M Train by Patti Smith – My review-ish here.


Top Five Movies – I didn’t keep up a list of movies this year as I’d intended so I’m having to rely on my horrible memory.


  • Before I Go To Sleep – starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman – Colin as you’ve never seen him. I was totally bamboozled by this plot and I love that.
  • Her – starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlet Johannson – Honestly, I didn’t think this was my kind of movie but I was wrong. It blew my expectations out of the water. A sensitive story and a stellar performance by Phoenix. Loved it.
  • Interstellar – starring Matthew McConaughey – One of those movies that you hope is pure fiction but has elements that you know in your heart could really happen. Creative. Thought provoking. Mind-bending. I was completely immersed in this movie.
  • Mr. Pip – starring Hugh Laurie – From Rotten Tomatoes: “While civil war rages on her island, a girl immerses herself in an imaginary world which fuses the Victorian London of “Great Expectations” with the environment and people she knows.” I highly, highly recommend this movie. Very creative, very provocative. Entertaining and disturbing at the same time. Hugh Laurie is astounding.
  • The Theory of Everything – Well, what’s to say? Stephen Hawking’s life story – fascinating. Eddie Redmayne is perfection here.

Top Five TV – It’s all about crime dramas, especially from across the pond, yeah.

  • The Fall – Gillian Anderson is my hero. Not perfect but almost. If someone murders me, I want her on the case.
  • Luther – I’m still grieving the end of the season. I have a crush. A huge one and I need a fix.
  • Wallendar – Messy, bumbling Wallendar. He’s so human but so good at his job.
  • The Killing – Obsessed. I was obsessed with this series. Great acting, great plots, oh-so-juicy villains that could never hope to escape Linden and Holder.


  • Last Tango in Halifax / Downton Abbey (A tie!) – Life in the UK – which decade do we prefer? All!
  • Honorable Mention to Mad Men which is sorely missed.

Top Five in Music – Music for me, nowadays, is what I listen to the most on radio and Spotify.

Top 5  Poetry Blogs – Because poetry is oxygen. (These are personal blogs not lit zines.)

And now my top 5 wanna’s:


  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante which I’ve already started. (Book 1 of 4)
  • The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante (Book 2 of 4)
  • The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  • West with the Night by Beryl Markham (See above.)
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I can’t believe I haven’t read it already.)


All hail Netflix. What did we do before?

  • Making a Murderer
  • Broadchurch
  • River
  • The X Files (!!!)
  • Downton Abbey


That’s all.  So here’s wishing you a happy viewing, reading, and listening New Year! xo


9 thoughts on “Charlotte’s Top Five

  1. Hi! I came via a connent on O at the edges.

    Going by the fact that some of what you’ve listed I have seen/read and loved (Her, 100 years of solitude, wind up bird chronicles, Robert Okaji’s poetry) I’ll check out some of the other books/films/blogs you’ve mentioned 😊

    Goodluck with your poetry submission!


  2. Glad to see that Hausfrau is among your top 5. It got so much acclaim when it was published (I immensely enjoyed it and loved it for its evocative setting of Zurich) but it then seem to get lost amongst other – often lesser – reads. Next on my TBR list is Circling the Sun, so looking forward to that. Amongst our top reads were The Bamboo Stalk written by Saud Alsanousi; How To Be Brave by Louise Beech and The Killing Of Bobbi Lomax by Cal Moriarty. Happy reading in 2016!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH, thanks for listing three books I haven’t read! I’ll definitely check them out.
      Hausfrau was a fascinating book and I’m so glad I found it.
      I neglected to mention that Isaac Dineson and Denys Finchhatton (spelling?!) figure prominently in Circling the Sun. I’m a huge Dineson fan so that was the initial draw for me for this book. I loved it almost as much as Out of Africa.
      Happy New Year!


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